Two deaths and multiple illnesses across 20 states have been linked to cantaloupes contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
State and federal health officials are advising consumers to discard all cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana, as tests have found evidence of the same strain of salmonella bacteria associated with a multi-state outbreak that health officials say is still ongoing.
Western Growers, Irvine has worked with California and Arizona producers and shippers for decades to develop, maintain and improve the strongest food safety programs in the industry.
The tragic and ongoing salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes is associated with an isolated region in Indiana and will likely be traced to a single farm with inadequate preventive programs in place.
Public health and welfare, along with the entire cantaloupe industry, suffers when companies do not aggressively pursue food safety throughout the supply chain.
The outbreak, which began in July, has been linked to two deaths and sickened at least 50 people in Kentucky. According to the Food and Drug Administration's website, a total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 20 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The agency cautions consumers not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the cantaloupe, or cut through the outer surface, as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the fruit.
The Indiana farm has agreed to stop distributing cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season. Consumers with questions about food safety are encouraged to call 1-888-INFO-FDA.